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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

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more. Therefore, let the non-Christians rise as hot and
angry and Pharisaical as they like—which after all is
the essence of much of our modern barbarism—but;
the Christian, though he must be greatly distressed, has
no right to be angry or surprised or Pharisaical when
confronted by the spectacle of human wilfulness and
even cruelty. The Christian understands it better than
anybody else does—understands it as one who feels
himself a partner in man's universal sin. For the
Christians are not the righteous—they are the ones
who confess themselves to be sinners. And they have
a safety-valve against certain kinds of hardness of heart
by that fact.

One of the things which we have to understand is
that, under certain conditions, human beings in great
masses—human beings in their millions—do become
barbarian; just as in a panic when a building is on fire
they may do things which they never would have done
in the security of normal life. In the same way we have
to confess to ourselves that certain conditions may be
conducive to drunkenness and certain other conditions
may bring about an epidemic of juvenile crime. Human
beings are creatures liable to become terribly hurt by
life, and it is possible for them to be badly twisted as a
result. And sometimes fear may make great numbers
of them unbelievably cruel—few people realise how
completely the shadow of a haunting dread may drive
compassion from men's hearts. Alternatively when
men are .driven to desperation they can do very ugly
things indeed—even men who in normal circumstances
would have cut a respectable figure in the world. And